Former Little House on the Prairie star, Melissa Gilbert is sharing an update after undergoing her fourth spinal surgery in a span of nearly 20 years. The 56-year-old actress took to Instagram on Nov. 19 to share the results of her "wildly successful" surgery that found the actress repairing a failed third spinal fusion surgery in 2016. Revealing how her doctor was able to "remove all the old hardware," she shares how the California doctor was also able to "shave off" her bone spurs, which were causing numbness in her right hand, in addition to providing her with an artificial disc.
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"Now I focus on recovery and remaining Covid free," she wrote alongside the snapshot of herself sitting up in a hospital bed. "Thank you all for your love, support and prayers. I send so much love back to you all. Happy Thanksgiving indeed!!! Love and love and love." The photo racked up a number of likes and comments from fans, who sent their well wishes for a speedy recovery with the beloved '80s actress, best known for her portrayal of young Laura Ingalls Wilder on NBC's Little House on the Prairie.
Before her surgery on Thursday, Gilbert told her fans and followers how she was scheduled to undergo the procedure to relieve the constant pain she has been in for the last few years. "I've now reached the point where the pain is nearly constant and the fingers on my right hand are beginning to tingle," she wrote in another Instagram last Monday. She further detailed how the pain was stemming from a failed surgery in 2016 with her C7 vertebra, which was "boring a hole." Learning that she needed another surgery in April, things came to a screeching halt due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Following consultation with her doctor, who did her "first fusion" in 2001, Dr. Robert Bray went on to repair and fuse her back when she broke it in 2010. "He agreed surgery was necessary and he felt I was a good candidate for an artificial disc instead of a fusion, saving me from having to do more fusions down my spine in the future," she wrote, adding how she had to wait six months for the clear with COVID-19.
Gilbert went on to add how her only job now is to "stay free of this horrible virus" and admitted she would "share as much of this journey" as she can for those facing anything similar. "I'm channeling my inner Halfpint for this one," she wrote. "The one who believes anything is possible. The one with courage and moxie to spare!! Everyone stay safe, stay healthy, stay strong. And if you have an extra prayer or two, please send them my way."
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According to FOX News, the last surgery in 2016 was required after Gilbert sustained two head and neck injuries that herniated two discs in her spine. In 2012, she hit her head while on Dancing With the Stars and suffered a "mild concussion" per the agency, further reporting how a "balcony from one of the houses she was renting in Studio City, California collapsed and hit her head," which hindered her chances at a congressional run in the state of Michigan.
"I was standing under the back balcony talking to my kids and it detached from the house and it collapsed on my head," she recalled at the time to PEOPLE magazine. "I ended up with a concussion and stitches in my head and it compressed two healthy discs in my neck."